Madison High, Irving Middle Students Named Top State Volunteers by Prudential Spirit of Community Awards
Students from Madison High School and Irving Middle School were named the state’s top two youth volunteers of 2019 by the Prudential Spirit of Community Awards. Justin Hu, a junior at Madison High, and Shayla Young, a seventh grader at Irving Middle, were honored for their volunteerism. Madison High and Irving Middle are Fairfax County public schools.
Hu teaches kung fu to children with disabilities and other challenges through ABLE Kung Fu, a nonprofit he founded in 2016. The organization also raises money to support medical and health-related needs in Africa and Asia, and has raised more than $24,000 in donations that have covered installation of an electric water pump at a school in Senegal and paid for pediatric surgeries in Taiwan and China. Hu began teaching kung fu for children with disabilities at his church, in afterschool programs, and during summer school while recruiting other kung fu devotees to help him. Last year, he was invited to teach kung fu to Special Olympics athletes. He estimates that he and his 25 volunteers have been able to make an impact on more than 6,000 children.
Young helps residents in a veterans’ retirement home learn how to make better use of their cell phones. As a volunteer at the Armed Forces Retirement Home in Washington, D.C., she noticed that many of the veterans were having problems using technology. She recruited some of her peers with technical skills to teach the seniors how to get the most out of their cell phones. At her first workshop, residents were taught how to increase the font size, adjust the volume and brightness, use password protection, add and save contacts, and link their phones to their email accounts. Future plans include additional workshops to teach the seniors how to use their alarm function as reminders to take medication or for appointments.
As state honorees, Hu and Young will each receive $1,000, a silver medallion, and a trip to Washington, D.C., for two days of recognition in May, where ten students will be named America's top youth volunteers of 2019.
Distinguished finalists for 2019 include Noelle Buice of Fairfax High School and Sarah Gu of McLean High School.
The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards is conducted by Prudential Financial in partnership with the National Association of Secondary School Principals.
For more information, contact the Fairfax County Public Schools Office of Communication and Community Relations at 571-423-1200.